POL 144B Opinion Paper Guidelines
Formatting (see pg. 2 for an example/template):
Style and organization:
Class name and number
Your Opinion (what is your opinion?)
In this section, clearly state and elaborate your stance on the question. Use this space to describe your paper’s position beyond a yes or no and present a very clear picture of your thoughts on the question. After reading this section I should understand what your detailed opinion is and what stance you are taking. The goal is to communicate a fleshed-out version of your thoughts on the question.
Your Argument (why do you hold your opinion?)
In this section you should provide evidentiary support for your opinion and outline a logical argument. After reading this section I should understand exactly why (on what basis) you hold your opinion. You must have 2 or more citations (not including lecture) and supporting evidence should go alongside a logical argument to make up the bulk of your two-page opinion paper. Try to focus your support/citations on class readings, and then supplement with other info if you would like. Also be sure to cite any sentence/info that do not come from your own thoughts to avoid any plagiarism. This is not a 12-page research paper so your writing will need to be concise.
An effective way to write this section is to mentally sketch out your own position (section one) and then reflect on why you hold that opinion. It might help to write down your own thinking on a sheet of paper or a separate word doc. Then, you should try to interrogate your opinion and thought process. Ask where your argument is weak and where you might be missing supporting evidence for an empirical claim or argument. For example, try thinking of possible counter-opinions/arguments and how their logics challenge your own. Essentially try to deconstruct and refute your own arguments and try to “defeat” your own position. Come up with objections and responses to those objections and then discuss them in your paper. Use this process to generate a stronger and more concise supporting argument by challenging your own opinion. It is perfectly okay to acknowledge the conditionality of your opinion (aka that you hold _____ opinion for ____ reason, but that it might not always hold in all cases, such as in ___ contexts). In the end, you should have a critical analysis of your own thoughts and opinions.
 McFaul, Michael. Russia’s unfinished revolution: political change from Gorbachev to Putin. Cornell University Press, 2001.
 McFaul, M. (2001). Russia’s unfinished revolution: political change from Gorbachev to Putin. Cornell University Press.
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